Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Configuration Manager’

Week in Review – CW18

May 4, 2014 Leave a comment

This is my first Week in Review blog post, so I will start with a quick introduction on what the purpose of these recurring posts will be: while at work at a customer there is a massive amount of information that I see flying by all the time. It comes from different sources: email, RSS, Twitter, LinkedIn, Etc. There is simply no time to track and keep up with all that information at that time. So if at first glance a piece of information seems interesting I add it to a list to review it in detail when more time is available. I try to keep track and clean-up my “to review” list by the end of every week.

As these bits and pieces of information may be interesting for others as well I will be sharing my list on a regular basis. To start of this initiative let’s have a look at the list for calendar week 18:

  • In their Support Announcement for April 2014 article the ConfigMgr team has confirmed that Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 and Configuration Manager 2012 R2 in a SQL upgrade scenario. It is not supported to install a new site with SQL Server 2014. In the same article support for Application Virtualization 5.0 SP2 is announced.
  • Also on the Configuration Manager Team blog is the article outlining the updates to the Configuration Manager Documentation Library for April 2014.
  • Released: KB2923078 – Reporting Services installation fails on System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1 that has SQL Server 2014 installed.
  • Released: KB2931044 – Discovery Data Manager slows when it rebuilds .ncf files on startup in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1.
  • Session recordings from the TechDays in The Netherlands have been published on Channel 9. Plenty of interesting items to catch up on! Click here for a full overview.
  • Shockwave in the world of ECM: Wally Mead has left Microsoft after 22 years to join Cireson. One of the first articles about it could be found on PRWeb. Is this an indicator the future of Configuration Manager as a product is at risk? Rod Trent has written an excellent article on the subject.

Happy reading and see you next week!

Tim

Advertisements

ConfigMgr Toolkit 2012 R2–Collection Evaluation Viewer

April 16, 2014 Leave a comment

A few weeks ago I have blogged about the DP Job Queue Manager. Today we will have a further look into another great utility in the Configuration Manager 2012 R2 toolkit: the Collection Evaluation Viewer (CEViewer.exe).

The main purpose of the Collection Evaluation viewer is to assist in troubleshooting issues related to collection evaluation. We will now test drive the tool in a lab to further explore the possibilities.

In case you did not download the toolkit yet, it is available here. The installation is really straightforward and we will not outline those details during this post. Instead we will fire up the utility straight away.

image

Before doing anything else I would recommend to first have a look at the last tab entitled about Collection Evaluation. This tab contains details on how to collection evaluation process runs and will help you to better understand the other queue tabs.

image

Now that we have some insights on how the queuing works, lets go to the first tab and provide the connection details to connect to the primary site. Connection details are shown at the bottom of the window.

image

Moving on to the Full Evaluation tab – this is where things become interesting. When looking specifically into performance issues the columns Run Time (Seconds) and Percent will be the most interesting ones: the first one logs how long the last evaluation took and the Percent column shows the percentage of evaluation time for this collection over the total (all collections) evaluation time. This should help you spot problematic collections straight away.

Additionally we can also find more details about the last time the collection was evaluated, when the next evaluation time will be, and what the result of the last evaluation was in regards to membership and when that change took place.

image

The Incremental Evaluation tab show information similar to the Full Evaluation tab, but this time for collections that have the incremental evaluation setting enabled. Also here we can easily spot problematic collections based on the Run Time and Percent columns.

image

The All Queues tab gives a complete overview of the different queues. Before taking the screenshot above I triggered a membership update on a few demo collections. As this is a manual action the collections are listed in the manual update queue. Notice that an estimated completion time is listed for both collections of which the membership is currently being evaluated.

image

The remaining (color-coded) tabs each represent a different queue. The screenshot above for to the manual update queue and lists a set of collections for which I had triggered a membership update. Here we can see the estimated run time and estimated completion time for each of the collections.

The remaining tabs are for the queues for new collections, collections with full updates or collections with incremental updates and work in the exact same way.

To finish up this post I would like to add that this tool can only be used with Configuration Manager 2012 R2. It will not work with previous versions. On an SP1 site we were able to connect to the site but when browsing to any of the other tabs in the tool it errors out as shown in the screenshot below.

clip_image002

 

That concludes our overview and test drive of this very interesting tool in the Configuration Manager 2012 R2 Toolkit. I hope this information was useful and will encourage you to download the toolkit and start using these tools.

Until next time!

Tim

Implementing Configuration Manager 2012 R2 Cumulative Update 1

April 10, 2014 7 comments

This post outlines the implementation of Cumulative Update 1 for Configuration Manager 2012 R2 in a lab environment. Note that this update is applicable for R2 only, if you are currently still running Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 please refer to my previous blog post on implementing Cumulative Update 4 for ConfigMgr SP1.

The detailed description and download link for this Cumulative Update  are available here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2938441/en-us .

The CU is applicable directly to the following components:

    • CAS
    • Primary Sites
    • Secondary Sites
    • SMS Provider(s)
    • Console(s)

    Additionally it contains updates for the following components:

    • CAS
    • Primary Sites
    • Secondary Sites
    • SMS Provider(s)
    • Consoles
    • Clients

    The lab infrastructure on which we will implement the CU is rather small: a standalone primary site with the site database and all site system roles installed on a single server. Additionally there is one remote Distribution Point. There are no secondary sites.

Primary Site

A CU implementation needs to be done from top to bottom so we start with the site server first.  Make sure there are no console connections open and then run the installer with elevated privileges.

image

The installation wizard is started:

image

Click Next on the welcome screen.

image

Accept the license terms and click Next.

image

Review all checks and click Next.

image

Leave the option to install the update for the console and click Next.

image

Leave the option to update the Site Database and click Next.

image

As part of the setup process Configuration Manager can create packages to update other components part of the environment. Leave the options to have these packages created and click Next.

image

Leave the default options for the first Update Package and click Next.

image

Leave the default options for the update package for consoles and click Next.

image

And finally also leave the default options for the remaining packages for clients. Click Next.

image

Review the setup summary and click Install to kick off the installation.

image

Installation progress is shown.

image

If you are interested in what is happening under the hood make sure to have a look at the installation log files in the %windir%\temp directory.

image

Click Next once all steps have been completed successfully.

image

Click Finish and restart the server.

In ARP there should be two entries indicating that the Cumulative Update was installed on the system: one for the site server and one for the console. Both are shown in the screenshot below:

image

Also in the registry the CU level for the site can be verified:

image

When opening the About Configuration Manager window from the console the version should show 5.0.7958.1203

image

Remember that at one point we opted to have packages created to implement the CU on other components. These packages are now available in the Software Library workspace:

image

Do not forget to distribute the content for these packages to your Distribution Points. This is not something that is done automatically!

 

Secondary Sites

If there are any Secondary Sites in your environment the next step is to implement the CU on those sites. The server update package can be used to automate this. To target the site servers a collection can be built which is populated based on the following query:

    • select SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceID,SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceType,SMS_R_SYSTEM.Name, SMS_R_SYSTEM.SMSUniqueIdentifier,SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceDomainORWorkgroup,
      SMS_R_SYSTEM.Client from SMS_R_System inner join SMS_G_System_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS_64 on SMS_G_System_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS_64.ResourceId = SMS_R_System.ResourceId where SMS_G_System_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS_64.DisplayName = "System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager Secondary Site Setup"

    Consoles

    As part of the implementation process on the site server the locally installed console was updated as well. Any remote consoles in the environment can be updated using the console upgrade package which was automatically created during the installation process.

    To build a collection containing the machines with the console installed the following query could be used:

  • select SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceID,SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceType,SMS_R_SYSTEM.Name, SMS_R_SYSTEM.SMSUniqueIdentifier,SMS_R_SYSTEM. ResourceDomainORWorkgroup,SMS_R_SYSTEM.Client from SMS_R_System inner join SMS_G_System_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS on SMS_G_System_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS.ResourceId = SMS_R_System.ResourceId where SMS_G_System_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS.DisplayName = "System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager Console"

Clients

Last but not least also the clients within the environment need to be brought up to the level of the Cumulative Update. There are multiple approaches to accomplish this; one method could be to deploy the client update packages which were also created automatically during the implementation process.

As there is a package per processor architecture we will also create matching collections to target our deployments. This is an example query for a collection containing all 64-bit clients with a client version not equal to CU1:

  • select SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceID,SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceType,SMS_R_SYSTEM.Name, SMS_R_SYSTEM.SMSUniqueIdentifier,SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceDomainORWorkgroup,
    SMS_R_SYSTEM.Client from SMS_R_System inner join SMS_G_System_SYSTEM on SMS_G_System_SYSTEM.ResourceID = SMS_R_System.ResourceId where SMS_R_System.ClientVersion != "5.00.7958.1203" and SMS_G_System_SYSTEM.SystemType = "X64-based PC"
    The query for the collection with 32-bit clients is identical; just replace “x64-based PC” with “x86-based PC”.
    A client with the CU installed should have the following version displayed in the properties:

image

 

And the updated components:

image  image

 

That concludes the work in our lab. I hope this post gives you a good overview on how you could implement the Cumulative Update in your environment.

Until next time!

Tim

Cumulative Update 1 for System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager released!

March 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Microsoft has released Cumulative Update 1 for System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. This update contains all previously released updates and hotfixes for Configuration Manager R2.

Full details and download information can be found here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2938441/en-us 

Note that next to fixing issues, the CU also introduces some changes for Windows Powershell. These changes are documented in a separate KB: 2932274

I will be test driving this CU in my lab shortly so stay tuned for more information.

ConfigMgr Toolkit 2012 R2 – DP Job Queue Manager

March 24, 2014 Leave a comment

One of the new server tools in the Configuration Manager 2012 R2 Toolkit is the Distribution Point Job Queue Manager (DpJobMgr.exe). This tool helps the Configuration Manager administrator in managing, monitoring and troubleshooting content distribution throughout his environment.

Lets have a closer look at the tool and how it can be used.

image

On the connect tab the Primary Site Server name needs to be specified before clicking on Connect. Connection status and results are shown in the bottom left corner. Make sure the connection is successful before moving on.

image

The overview tab shows a list of all Distribution Points within our lab environment. Note that the locally installed Distribution Point on the site server is not displayed and also not taken into account in the Total Distribution Points count.

You can opt to manually refresh the list if you are in the process of doing content deployments. Alternatively the tool can auto-refresh the list based on a set interval. Note that the default interval is 2 minutes. You cannot set a value lower than those 2 minutes.

image

The Distribution Point info tab displays details about the ongoing content transfers. Once the transfer is completed, the entry for that content is removed from the list. The progress column seems to be updated at a slow pace and as a result I found that smaller content was distributed even before any percentage was ever displayed.

image

Managing jobs is done from the next tab. Here you can change priorities in the queue and also cancel any distribution jobs that are ongoing.

image

The last tab is the help tab. This tab is purely informational and displays some general help information.

Now in a lab off course the amount of content to be distributed and DP’s to be targeted is very low. In large enterprise environments where there is much content and many Distribution Points to be targeted I believe this will be a very helpful utility.

Important: this tool only works with Configuration Manager 2012 R2 and is not compatible with previous versions. On an SP1 site for example we were able to connect to the site but while retrieving data the tools throws multiple errors like the one displayed below:

DPQueueMgr_SP1_Error

 

Until next time!

Tim

Configuration Manager Support Center – a first look

February 6, 2014 Leave a comment

A few days ago Microsoft has released a new tool called the SC2012 Configuration Manager Support Center. This post describes the installation steps and some findings and experiences while test driving this new tool in a lab environment.

Installation

Before beginning the installation make sure the .Net Framework 4.5 has been installed. You can download it here.

After extracting the content we downloaded from Microsoft Connect there are 3 files:

clip_image001

There are a few known issues with the current beta release, so I recommend reading the releases notes first to learn about them. Run the cmsupportcenter.msi with administrative permissions and walk through the installation wizard as follows:

  1. Click Next on the welcome screen.
  2. Accept the License Agreement and click Next.
  3. Choose a Setup Type, I opted for the Typical setup.
  4. Click Install to start the installation.
  5. Click Finish when the installation is complete.

Upon successful installation the following items are listed in the start menu:

image

Support Center Features

This is what Support Center looks like when launching it:

image

Notice that we are connected to the local host. Through the menu options there is also the possibility to connect to a remote machine. You will need to specify the hostname of the machine and optionally also any required credentials.

image

Now lets walk through all the available tabs.

First tab is the data collection tab. When clicking the start collection button the tool starts gathering information from the client system. The data gathering process only takes about a minute to complete. At that point you will be prompted to save the data (in a .zip file).

image

We can use the second utility Support Center Viewer to analyze the zip file. More information on this later in this post.

Second tab in the Client Details tab. The only option available here is to load or refresh the data. This tab just gives an overview of some basic client information:

image

The third tab is the Client Policy tab. Here you have the options to load the local client policy, request and/or evaluate the policy and the capability to listen for policy events. If you enable the listener you can flip open the bottom pane for more details.

image

The fourth tab is related to Content on the client. Similar to the policies we also have the option to load or refresh the data. This tab gives us details about what has been deployed to the client. In the example below we see detailed information on one of our lab applications.

image

Next tab we can explore is the Troubleshooting tab. Upon clicking the Start Troubleshooting button a series of tests is conducted.

image

Once the tests are complete you can individually select each one and click the view log button to see more detailed information about the test. The example below is taken from the step that verifies Client Registration.

image

The last tab is the troubleshooting tab. Here we can open log files for further analysis. The functionality here seems similar to the CMTrace utility. There are search and filter options and also highlighting of specific entries.

image

The tool also includes the capability to modify the client logging configuration and to open groups of log files related to a specific troubleshooting area.  There are 3 groups: Application Management, Client Registration and Policy.

image

Support Center Viewer

Using the Support Center Viewer utility we can analyze the results from the data collection we did earlier. When launching the utility it will immediately show a dialog box to browse to the .zip file saved earlier. It shows detailed information on the Client Configuration and the System and allows further analysis of the logs files that were retrieved.

image

That concludes the first test drive of this new utility in our lab. Although I only had a chance to look at all the features at a glance I am sure this will be a helpful utility during future troubleshooting.

Until next time!

Tim

Configuration Manager Support Center Released

February 5, 2014 Leave a comment

Yesterday Microsoft has released a new tool called the SC 2012 Configuration Manager Support Center. What the tool can be used for is described as follows:

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Support Center helps you to gather information about System Center 2012 Configuration Manager clients so that you can more easily address issues with those clients when working with product support specialists. Configuration Manager Support Center includes a tool that gathers a bundle of log files, and also a tool that is used by product support specialists to examine log files and other client data for in-depth analysis of issues with Configuration Manager clients.

Click here to download the tool on Microsoft connect. You will need to join the Configuration Manager open beta program first before you can access the page.